Here is a fact to make you nervous ahead of the opening day meeting with Morecambe – we have never lost to the Shrimps in six previous meetings. We`ve won three and drawn three and Vital Wycombe takes you back to our first ever meeting in January 1993.
Wycombe Wanderers were leading the GM Vauxhall Conference by double figures as they made the long trip north to Christie Park to face the Northern Premier League side in the second round of the F.A. Trophy. It was exactly the kind of banana-skin cup tie history is based upon. Incredibly more than 800 Chairboys made the 460-mile round trip (by way of comparison we took 666 fans with us to Elland Road, Leeds last season) to swell the crowd to 2,192.
On hearing the draw Martin O`Neill said: ‘It’s as difficult as we’re likely to get, not in terms of distance, because I’d go to Tokyo if it was easy enough to play, but because they’ve put a good side together with a few of the lads from Witton [Albion] who played in the last Trophy final’ The manager had brought in Blackburn Rovers centre-back Robert Dewhurst in on loan to replace captain Glyn Creaser, who had badly-injured his foot in a work accident with a fork-lift truck. Midfielder Steve Thompson returned to the side after serving a three-match ban.
The side lined-up as follows:
Jason Cousins – Robert Dewhurst – Andy Kerr – Matt Crossley
Simon Hutchinson – Dave Carroll – Simon Stapleton – Steve Guppy
Morecambe lined-up as follows: Mike Allison – Paul Tomlinson, Robbie Armstrong, Paul Byrom, Richard Close – Paul Lodge, Stewart Anderson, Andy Grimshaw, Ian Cain – John Coleman, Steve Holden.
Bucks Free Press scribe Pete Lansley described the Christie Park pitch as “Morecambe Bay with the tide out” and on a breezy overcast afternoon it was the visitors who created the first chance after just two minutes but Simon Stapleton failed to get his shot on target. Steve Guppy almost gave the Blues the lead after 15 minutes when his cross deceived goalkeeper Mike Allison and clipped the top of the crossbar. The home side responded and went close on 22 minutes when John Coleman (now manager of Accrington Stanley) headed against the post with Paul Hyde beaten.
Morecambe made a change at half-time bringing on Andy Green for Coleman. Green had history with Wycombe having scored for Macclesfield the previous April in a 3-1 defeat that effectively cost the title. The second half saw the Wanderers come out and take the game to the hosts. The threat came down the left flank through Steve Guppy and he created a chance for Steve Thompson only for Allison to pull off the save of the match to push the ball behind for a corner. A quick short-corner routine saw Guppy whip in a typically dangerous cross and Keith Scott headed into the net to make it 1-0 with 56 minutes played.
The Shrimps fought back and with the wind behind them increased the pressure on the Wanderers goal with centre-back Andy Kerr outstanding at the heart of defence. Keith Ryan replaced Simon Stapleton on 75 minutes and John McNally come on for Richard Close on 81 minutes. A minute later the hosts came close to an equaliser Steve Holden smashing his shot against the post. On 86 minutes Ian Cain`s left-wing cross was met by Green and he glanced a header into bottom corner of the net to make it 1-1. The huge Wycombe following then spent the next seven minutes hiding behind their fingers as Morecambe went for the jugular. With 88 minutes played there was an almighty scramble in the Wanderers goalmouth with the home side appealing for both handball and a goal, claiming the ball had crossed the line before Andy Kerr`s desperate clearance. There was a huge sigh of relief when referee John McGrath blew the final whistle.
The replay was played at Adams Park the following Tuesday evening and an Andy Kerr goal on 44 minutes was added to by Keith Scott after 53 minutes to seal a 2-0 win in front of 4,490.